Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) aired his first ad of the campaign Saturday, which uses a line straight out of his opponent’s playbook.
The minute-long ad first aired Saturday during the Michigan-Michigan State basketball game and features Peters’ wife, Colleen, discussing her husband’s military service.
“Most folks don’t know Gary was a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserve and after 9/11 he signed up again,” Colleen Peters says in the ad. “Gary has always put service before himself. It’s just part of his DNA. Every day, I see his passion for being effective, not talking, but getting things done.”
Republican challenger John James frequently uses the “service before self” line and includes it on the front page of his website as a campaign slogan.
“A life devoted to service before self,” states James’ website. When James first announced his candidacy, he said he believes “in putting service before self.”
I am running because I believe that Michigan needs stronger leadership in the Senate. If you believe in putting service before self, click this link, fuel our movement and help me carry your voice to Washington: https://t.co/LITq8LRleP#MISen #LetsFlyMI #TeamJohnJames 💪🇺🇸🦅 pic.twitter.com/5KZeYY41Px
— John James (@JohnJamesMI) June 9, 2019
Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Laura Cox said Peters “decided to rip off” James and posted a montage of James using the “service before self” line.
“Instead of coming up with his own voice and own ideas, Gary Peters decided to rip off John James. Peters must have finally figured out that voting with Schumer 95 percent of the time doesn’t cut it for Michigan. John – 1, Gary – 0,” she wrote on Twitter.
Peters must have finally figured out that voting with Schumer 95% of the time doesn't cut it for Michigan.
— Laura Cox (@MIGOPChair) February 6, 2020
According to the Associated Press, the Peters campaign said it spent a “substantial” amount of money to air the ad and will run it statewide. The Michigan Campaign Finance Network estimated the total ad buy was at least $380,000.
The Peters campaign has more cash on hand, but James has outraised his opponent every quarter since announcing his candidacy. In the fourth quarter of 2019, James said he raised $3.5 million to Peters’ $2.5 million.
Peters, however, reported having $8 million in cash on hand, which is a state record for end-of-the-year cash on hand.
According to the most recent statewide poll, Peters holds a small lead of four percentage points over James with 16 percent of voters undecided. The race between Peters and James is expected to be one of the most closely watched Senate races in 2020.
James received national attention during his Senate bid against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in 2018 and was called a rising star by President Donald Trump.
– – –